1

profligate

adjective prof·li·gate \ ˈprä-fli-gət , -ˌgāt \

Definition of profligate

1 :wildly extravagant
  • profligate spending
2 :completely given up to dissipation and licentiousness :shamelessly immoral
  • leading a profligate life

profligately

adverb

profligate was our Word of the Day on 10/26/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of profligate in a Sentence

  1. In a curious way, part of the genius of America has been a collective forgetfulness, a talent for somehow outdistancing problems in a headlong race toward something new. It is a form of heedlessness, perhaps, blithe and profligate, but also an exuberant forward spin that may spare people the exhausting obligations of revenge. —Lance MorrowTime4 Apr. 1988
  2. Sure, the trade deficit symbolizes a profligate America, consuming more than it produces and spending more than it has. —Philip RevzinWall Street Journal17 Mar. 17, 1988
  3. Everyone seemed fond of statistics, but the counterterrorism experts were especially profligate with numbers. —Kurt AndersenTime24 June 1985
  4. She was very profligate in her spending.

  5. profligate movie producers hoping to create the next blockbuster

Recent Examples of profligate from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'profligate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Don't Get Overwhelmed By the History of [profligate]

When a royal record keeper reported the "profligation of the knights" almost five centuries ago, he didn't mean the knights were wildly indulging in excesses; he meant they were thoroughly defeated in battle. There's nothing etymologically extreme there; the Latin verb profligare, which is the root of both profligate and the much rarer profligation (meaning "ruin"), means "to strike down," "to destroy," or "to overwhelm." When the adjective profligate first appeared in print in English in the 1500s, it meant "overthrown" or "overwhelmed," but over time the word's meaning shifted to "immoral" or "wildly extravagant."

Origin and Etymology of profligate

Latin profligatus, from past participle of profligare to strike down, from pro- forward, down + -fligare (akin to fligere to strike); akin to Greek phlibein to squeeze

2

profligate

noun prof·li·gate \ ˈprä-fli-gət , -ˌgāt \

Definition of profligate

:a person given to wildly extravagant and usually grossly self-indulgent expenditure

Examples of profligate in a Sentence

  1. "Why did you ask that scoundrel, Rawdon Crawley, to dine?" said the Rector to his lady, as they were walking home through the park. "I don't want the fellow. He looks down upon us country people as so many blackamoors.  … Besides, he's such an infernal character—he's a gambler—he's a drunkard—he's a profligate in every way." —William Makepeace ThackerayVanity Fair1848
  2. a profligate who could not really afford the grand style he maintained at Monticello, Jefferson died deeply in debt

  3. a drunken profligate, he was given to wretched excess in every aspect of his life

Origin and Etymology of profligate




Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up profligate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

spoken rather than written

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one-green-toy-robot-amidst-many-red-toy-robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!